Spandau Ballet Whitley Bay Ice Rink 19th December 1984
The next time Spandau Ballet returned to play in the North East, they sold out two nights at the cold and cavernous Whitley Bay Ice Rink. Now very much pop stars, Spandau Ballet released their fourth album, Parade, in June 1984, which featured the hit single “Only When You Leave”. At the end of 1984, they performed on the Band Aid charity single. In a few short years this band had moved from being the darlings of the new romantic scene, playing small, intimate and exclusive events in trend-setting London clubs, to the pop star darling of thousands of screaming fans, headlining massive arenas up and down the UK.
In the tour programme, all of the band wax lyrically about the live experience. Tony Hadley describes it through a poem: “The dream was so real. The colours so clean. The atmosphere a richness that touched all the human senses. An expectation so overpowering that you no longer felt completely in control. A force greater than anything experienced before was urging you forward eager to tease and be teased. The curtain will rise and at once the party begins….Without any doubt at all, playing live is one of the greatest moments of my life.” Gary Kemp: “This is where ‘Parade’ really exists, in the event that we’ll both create tonight!” Martin Kemp: “…our stomachs ache with anticipation and our hands are clammy, this is by far the best time of any year…Welcome to the Parade.” Steve Norman: “Playing live is what we do best and it’s most certainly what we enjoy doing most.” John Keeble: “At Last! Spandau are back on stage and n-one is more pleased than me. I saw Spandau Ballet once more, in 1985, when they performed at Wembley Stadium as part of Live Aid.
I think that covers my ramblings on the letter “S”. It turned out to be a bit of a marathon. I need to double-check, but tomorrow I should be able to start the letter “T”! The end of my project is getting closer….
Archive for the ‘Spandau Ballet’ Category
Spandau Ballet Whitley Bay Ice Rink 19th December 1984
Spandau Ballet Newcastle City Hall 19th April 1983
“Initially ‘mod’ meant a very small group of young working class boys who, at the height of the trad boom formed a small, totally committed little mutual admiration society totally devoted to clothes…” (George Melly, from his book Revolt Into Style.)
“…although they’ve played only a handful of gigs to invited audiences, every record company in London has been chasing their signatures, some without hearing a note of their music. Already they’ve been the subject of an entire television documentary owing to their large London cult following.” (Betty Page, Sounds, 1980)
Spandau Ballet was as sharp as a dagger, and cool as you could get when they emerged from the new romantic scene of the early 1980s. Their gigs were special, important, exclusive events held at small London club venues like Blitz and Heaven. And their first single “To Cut a Long Story Short” was pretty good. And the clothes were so outrageous, courageous and splendid.
By the time Spandau Ballet appeared at Newcastle City Hall in 1983 they were morphing into a more mainstream pop and blue-eyed soul band. They had just released their third album “True” which features the song of the same name and their other massive hit of 1983, “Gold”. The “True” album topped the charts all around the world, and the band were poised for further success.
Setlist: Foundation; Communication; Pleasure; Code Of Love; Gold; The Freeze; Glow; Lifeline; Heaven Is A Secret; True; Paint Me Down; Instinction; Chant No1; Cut a Long Story Short
Line-up: Tony Hadley (lead vocals), Gary Kemp (guitar), Martin Kemp (bass), Steve Norman (sax), John Keeble (drums)
Live Aid Wembley Stadium 13th July 1985
I went with a couple of mates. We missed out on tickets when they went on sale and the only way we could get there was to buy tickets for a coach trip from Middlesbrough. So we were up at 4am, drove to Middlesbrough and joined a coach which left at 5am for London. We arrived well before noon, had a couple of drinks and entered the stadium, which was of course completely packed so we found a spot in the stands right at the back. A few minutes later Status Quo took to the stage with “Rockin’ All Over The World” and the day started. This was Quo reunited one year after the split, with Alan flying over from Oz to join Francis and Rick. Their short set also featured Caroline” and “Don’t Waste My Time”. A fitting start to the day. I have so many great memories of that day.
Queen’s performance is, of course, often rated as the greatest live performance by any band. Freddie certainly commanded the crowd the day and it propelled them to super stardom. Their well planned set was a medley with short sections of their anthems: “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Radio Ga Ga”, “Hammer To Fall”, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions”. They had apparently been rehearsing their short set for days, to ensure perfection, and it showed, and worked. U2 weren’t far behind them, though, in terms of performance, with Bono showing how great a front man he was. U2 played two songs: “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and a lengthy version of “Bad” during which Bono dragged a girl from the rush down front to dance with him on stage, and which also included snippets from Lou Reed’s “Satellite of love” and “Walk On The Wild Side”, and The Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday” and “Sympathy for the Devil”. Electric.
For me, however. the highlights were The Who and David Bowie, as I was, and remain, a big fan of both acts. Bowie started with “TVC15” (a strange and poor choice I felt, and remember being disappointed on the day), “Rebel Rebel” (great, good choice), “Modern Love” (well, ok) and then “Heroes” (we all sag along and it was pure magic). I still feel that with a better choice of songs Bowie could have eclipsed Queen and U2.
The Who performed “My Generation”, “Pinball Wizard”, “Love Reign O’er Me” (another strange song choice given the magnitude of the event) and a blistering “Won’t Get Fooled Again” with much mike swinging by Daltrey and lots of arm twirling by Townshend.
Other memories: Elton and Kiki sang “Don’t go Breaking my Heart” (great!). Paul McCartney suffered from sound problems and we couldn’t hear him at all for much of “Let It Be” although I gather it was fine on TV. Geldof drew massive cheers every time he set foot on stage, and he deserved every one of them. The scheduling worked amazingly, with very few hitches. Seeing the cameras pick out Charles and Diana over in their enclosure. The amazingly camp Bowie and Jagger video. The awful, sad and moving video of starving children played to the Cars’ “Drive”. Phil Collins playing Wembley and JFK courtesy of Concorde (show off).
But the truly unforgettable moment came at the end, and will stay in my mind for ever. That was the finale, with the entire stadium singing along to “Do They Know It’s Christmas ?” with Bob Geldof leading us, and everyone else on stage. I’ve never seen, felt, or heard anything like it before or since. We walked out of that stadium to the coach park, all of us still singing…..”Feed The World”…..
Then it was a long coach ride back to Middlesbrough. We arrived back around 5 or 6am, then drove home. 24 hours with hardly any sleep, just an hour or so caught on the bus, but a day I will remember forever.
Line-up: Status Quo; The Style Council; The Boomtown Rats; Adam Ant; Ultravox; Spandau Ballet; Elvis Costello; Nik Kershaw; Sade; Sting; Phil Collins; Howard Jones; Bryan Ferry (with David Gilmour on guitar); Paul Young/Alison Moyet; U2; Dire Straits/Sting; Queen; Video “Dancing in the Streets” by David Bowie/Mick Jagger; David Bowie; The Who; Elton John (Kiki Dee and George Michael join Elton); Mercury and May; Paul McCartney; Finale